The Old Pine Tree

Mornings on the dock at camp

In other places they call it the cabin or the lake house, but it Maine we call it camp. 

Somewhere in the woods

This past weekend I was hiking in Acadia. Yesterday I was planning a trail run and I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. I thought they might feel heavy and stiff. I also hadn’t done any trail running in weeks. 

I was surprised to find that my legs were loose and every bit of it felt not only natural, but I felt like I was noticeably more comfortable on trails (single-track technical) than when I began in the spring. So I guess maybe hiking is a good warm up/shake-out/loosening of the legs. It couldn’t have come at a better time because my legs had been feeling really tight and I was having trouble breaking through it.

This winter I will be training for my next marathon and I plan on doing more cross training (swimming, biking). I’m also thinking about following the Hansons’ Way, although I’m not sure the higher mile runs midweek work for my schedule. I hate winter running so I’m looking for ways to make it work for me. And I’ve chosen a fast marathon (that couldn’t be more different than the last one I ran). I’ve only got a few goals so far: I don’t want to get injured, I want to enjoy myself, and I want to PR. For now I’m building my base and enjoying running and all those other great summertime outdoor activities.

Those pretty peas

And some bees in the squash blossoms giving me a helping hand this morning.

Those pretty peas

And some bees in the squash blossoms giving me a helping hand this morning.

Breakfast at the lake 
Espresso and a doughnut. 

Breakfast at the lake 

Espresso and a doughnut. 

Three Tides

These guys didn’t start out brewing beer (although we’re all glad they ended up brewing beer!), they started with a cocktail bar they named Three Tides. It has been one of the best editions to the town. While it’s still totally casual and laid back, it is one of the few places that has an upscale, nicer feeling to it. Us yuppies need our watering hole, too. 

First off, the space is pretty special. The night they were pouring their sea belt beer for the first time (which I was, unfortunately, unaware of) a friend and I sat out on the deck for dinner and some wine. They have a great sail cover over their outdoor seating with lamp shades and light bulbs strung up with thick rope around the edges. Outside it was rain and thunder and lightening but under the sail it was warm lighting and full tables exuding the giddiness of midsummer. There is some indoor seating as well, and an outdoor “beer garden” at ground level with a fire pit for those foggy summer days and cooler, flannel-necessary fall days.

The drink menu is complete. They’ve got a long list of (their) beers, a full cocktail menu, and enough wines to please everyone’s taste. A good drink menu and great outdoor seating go hand-in-hand.

I hadn’t eaten there in a while (years). People always talk about the mussels. If you’re in town and you want mussels, go to Three Tides. People also talk about their food portions being small. They weren’t large but they were definitely enough. And the food was good. really good. I had the crab quesadilla and it was stuffed with crab meat. When I asked for hot sauce I was presented with two local Maine-made options. My friend had their spinach and artichoke dip (which was served with crispy bruschetta-style slices of bred) and some sort of seafood bisque. Both were delicious. People used to complain about the prices being a little too high, but everyone else in town has inflated their prices lately (here’s look at YOU Darby’s) and in many places the quality has also gone down (*coughDarby’s), so I actually thought they were reasonable given the quality. My quesadilla was $10.50. 

Three Tides is a great way to experience a night on a harbor without falling into a tourist trap. Come see how we do it up here.

Oh ya, the owners are really nice, too.

When people come to town there are two places I can recommend without any reservations. Three Tides is one of them (Chase’s is the other). 

npr:

"Craft Beer Reaches New Depths As Mainers Brew A Batch From Seaweed" via Jay Field

Strange varieties of beer pack the shelves of most specialty grocery stores. Some brews are flavored with fruit or spices, while more peculiar selections include elements like yeast scraped from a 35 million-year-old whale bone. Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. –– already known for adding odd ingredients such as oysters or habanero peppers –– has crafted something new to most U.S. drinkers: seaweed beer

– Alexander

Images: Jay Field/MPBN

Holy crap. NPR caught on to these guys. Nice. (Also, just for the record, I covered this before NPR did).

Chase’s Daily 
The food here is so good and it is very consistent. The big open room is lovely, the atmosphere is great, and this time of year the back of their space is filling up with fresh, photograph-worthy produce grown on their farm. It’s one of the few places in town where you can get espresso; good, strong espresso. If you’re in the Midcoast area a visit to Chase’s is a must.

Chase’s Daily 

The food here is so good and it is very consistent. The big open room is lovely, the atmosphere is great, and this time of year the back of their space is filling up with fresh, photograph-worthy produce grown on their farm. It’s one of the few places in town where you can get espresso; good, strong espresso. If you’re in the Midcoast area a visit to Chase’s is a must.

Butternut Squash Fritters

My mom had a butternut squash for months* and never used it so I took it and wondered what it might taste like in fritters. I looked up recipes and found one that appealed to me. I didn’t actually follow any recipe, I just looked at the ingredient list. This is what I put in them:

  • grated butternut squash
  • grated cheddar cheese (YEP)
  • diced shallots
  • chopped fresh parsley (dried is ok too)
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • oil (you might use egg here instead)

Were they good? They were delicious. The first batch I made were a little too salty so I had them over fresh lettuce from the garden and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

*Winter vegetables are like that. And that’s kind of great. 

Things I love

I’m having a great summer. It’s not that anything particularly amazing is happening to me; I’m not travelling, not taking lots of days of work, not sleeping late, not winning the lottery; I’m just enjoying it, enjoying life. 

I love the hot, sticky, muggy days. It feels good to be so warm. It feels like not worrying about anything. It feels like contentment. I like the cool rainy days and gray mornings that make for good sleeping. They make it ok to slow down a little bit, to do less without feeling like you’re missing an opportunity.

I love the bright blue ocean and the immense amount of green around here. I love looking at miles of hills in the distance and seeing them covered in green and not interrupted by any human development. 

A friend and I were talking recently about how inspiring it is to be out in nature. I feel more inspired. It feels good to be inspired. I’m writing more and I love writing. 

I love that the garden doesn’t need much attention now and everything is growing, little by little. I forgot how amazing fresh food is (how could I forget?). So much of what we eat this time of year is fresh. It’s a luxury (but easily available, how grand). 

This might sound strange but I’m looking forward to the fall. I don’t want it to come any sooner than it has to, but fall is really beautiful and it’s such a rich time of year. I’m looking forward to that.

It is so quintessentially summer right now and that alone is bringing me a lot of joy. 

Gratitude is a beautiful thing. What do you love?

Today.

Today.

(Source: glorfinn)

Grateful Friday

Today I’m grateful for:

Weekends that cooperate. Finally getting my hot sunny weekend on the lake, after the rain had stolen it from me multiple times. I’m especially looking forward to some kayaking, that cool morning air, and catching some fish and frying it up immediately after. 

July. July in Maine makes up for whatever winter we had. It is our redemption and renewal. Our baptism you might say. We have come out on the other side and life is good. July always heals our winter wounds. 

Catching up with friends. A friend of mine was in town from Istanbul and we got to catch up in person this week. I will always marvel at the way modern transportation enables someone to be across the world immersed in a foreign culture one day, and the next day they’re having dinner with you and you’re catching up just like you normally would. We live in a very cool world, and my generation is lucky to be so comfortable with world travel. 

Long Grain restaurant in Camden. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place and finally I tried it out. I was in heaven. My pictures were too dark, so I’ll post a review once I’ve had a chance to go back (hopefully soon. Real soon). Should you be wondering I ate a lot of kimchi and I loved it. More please.

Boden and Gap. Yea, this one is materialistic, but these two brands have provided me with such great summer clothes that are just so me. It’s nice to be comfortable in my own skin (side note: it’s also kind of my dream come true when I’m at a restaurant and someone tells me my shirt is so cute and asks if it is from Boden. My love for Boden is deep). 

The right amount of busy. I’d rather be busy than bored any day, but no one wants to be so busy they can’t enjoy life (I did that for three years and I’m over it). I think I’ve got it figured out, for now.

Fresh everything. From mixed greens to rhubarb to peas to strawberries to corn to you name it. Fresh food is amazing. It tastes good and it makes me feel alive. 

Be grateful; it makes everything better. What are you grateful for today?

This is a Man’s World

The other day I was at a site visit for work and the man we were speaking to said to my boss (who is a man) “I don’t know if your intern will understand this.”

My heart stopped for a minute. Excuse me?

"I’m not an intern." I said matter-of-factly. 

"Your trainee." The man corrected.

Trainee? Is this guy serious? “I’m not a trainee.” I said.

"Your Assistant." The man was still speaking directly to my boss.

My boss and I corrected him. “I have a Masters in City Planning.” I said, glad he couldn’t see my eyes behind my sunglasses. I wanted to throw sand in his face.

"Did you do any work in legal issues?" He asked me, skeptically.

"Yes, land use law." I responded. He continued to pester me and I continued to answer. At some point he returned to his original point, once he was satisfied that I could keep up.

I may be 29 years old with 20 years of schooling and two degrees (and from the area originally, which counts for a lot around here), but sometimes you’d think I had just arrived on this planet last week.

I hope by now sexism would be dead, but just like every other historically unjust human rights issue, it is not, and I come face-to-face with it every week.

There are days where I wish I hadn’t worn a skirt, or a dress, the color pink (and remind myself that I still need to go out and get a pair of Carhartts for certain site visits), etc. because I know that I may be taken less seriously by the people I will be meeting with. I try to walk a line between being myself (hell, I’m a woman, I have a right to wear a skirt, it does not reflect some sort of lesser capability!) and conforming just a little at certain times so that I don’t have to deal with being judged.

I went to a women’s college for undergrad and I got a Bachelors in Business Management. I was taught to have a strong, confident presence in the working world. I was told to have a confident handshake. I think I have a perfect handshake and I’ve worked on it for a long time, because I know that when I walk into a room of men and they start to judge me, I can change their minds with that one simple gesture. A good handshake (sturdy but not too strong. There are few things worse than a limp handshake) says I’m here for a reason and I’ve got important things to contribute so pay attention. Just as important is solid eye contact and a confident speaking voice. These little things are especially important when you’re a woman.

At my last job I worked with progressive people, yet there was still this strange reality that was talked about quietly, behind closed doors, among the women. I tried to bring it up once with one of my male colleagues and he immediately brushed it off as definitely not true. You see, in meetings and other interactions the men could challenge each other (and the Executive Director, who was also a man), but the women both wouldn’t challenge them in the same manner because they felt it was entirely rude and unprofessional, and couldn’t because we also sensed that it would not be ok. Yet we had to sit there through long meetings and hear these men go at each others throats. At one point we were told we should participate in meetings more. There was a reason we weren’t. It was the only place I have ever been where I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up for myself. I didn’t always feel like I had a voice there, and I knew my boss felt that way too. Myself and two other women left the organization in the last 7 months. Talented, bright, hardworking women leave jobs when they feel they can’t compete or be on the same playing field as men. 

In the song “It’s a man’s man’s man’s world.” by James Brown he says:

This is a mans world
But it would be nothing,nothing
Without a women or a girl

But he never once says why.

Coastal colors and textures
Gray, white, and blue. Wood on wood on wood. You know you’re near the ocean now. 

Coastal colors and textures

Gray, white, and blue. Wood on wood on wood. You know you’re near the ocean now. 

Just another summer night 

A surprise lobster dinner up on a breezy hill in the sweet summer sun out in the country. I couldn’t have been happier.

Pick your own

Pick your own